The lesson from Haiti

Celeste Worden is a Chico resident and artist, performer, mother and teacher.

So much for democracy. President Aristide of Haiti, the first democratically elected leader of that country, was kidnapped at gunpoint by U.S. Marines and flown directly to the Central African Republic, a close friend and ally of the United States.

Contrary to what may be said by our media, he did not resign. He did not voluntarily leave his country. He did not ask for asylum from South Africa; he never had the chance. South African authorities said they would have had no problem granting him asylum. Friends and allies of Aristide received phone calls from him Monday morning saying emphatically that he was being held at gunpoint, had not resigned, and to tell the world it had been a coup.

A coup. Well. That’s cheaper than bombing and occupying a distant nation, as in the case of Iraq. It just seems so incredibly outrageous that our president, who arguably stole the election through election fraud and manipulation of the Supreme Court, should find it so imperative to remove other legitimate leaders from their posts. Ironic, is it not? Illegal, immoral and frightening, too. This is what the New World Order looks like. This is the revolution of democracy.

And what are we going to do about it? Apparently nothing. Americans are too busy trying to keep their own lives together to worry about a bunch of poor, brown-skinned brothers and sisters around the world. It’s just too hard to keep up with all the news, especially the bad stuff.

Well, it occurred to me the other day that poor Americans should be paying more attention to the plight of poor people of color (and otherwise) around the world. How long will it be before you and I, having no silver spoon, no big corporate daddy and no stock portfolio, might find ourselves counted among the disappearing indigenous people of the world? How much longer can we watch our democratic rules and privileges being eroded before we get a clue and notice it’s our butts on the line this time? Because they are. They are. So maybe we should all be a little more interested in those poor Haitians.

John Donne said it long before I did; "Ask not for whom the bell tolls: it tolls for thee."